American Idol‘s ninth season officially kicked off last Tuesday, as 12 guys and 12 girls performed live for America. The troupe of girls went first, performing a variety of songs chosen by them on Tuesday’s performance show. And there lies the problem: song choice. An early Idol Insider front-runner, Ashley Rodriguez, chose to take on the power ballad “Happy”, but failed to reproduce Leona Lewis’ powerhouse chops. Janell Wheeler, who was another favorite during Hollywood Week failed to create a star quality on stage, letting her nerves get the best of her. Other early favorites, Lacey Brown and Katie Stevens, also failed to shine, picking songs that weren’t suited for their talents. And Crystal Bowersox, the girl with the jacked up teeth and dirty hair, actually showed off some originality, but failed to be authentic when picking the Alanis Morrisette classic. In fact, none of the girls really overly impressed in the first live show. Whether nerves or song choice, the overall feeling of the night was bland.
And it didn’t end with the show on Tuesday night. Wednesday night’s performance show, featuring the Top 12 boys, was even worse. And not just because new judge Ellen DeGeneres has turned out to be such a boring, disappointing judge (I’m gonna give her time to grow, but she is better suited for her daytime gig than the Idol platform). The boys, for the most part, seemed to be lacking the talent to be this far in the process, seeming more like the type of contestants you’d see getting the boot during the initial auditions. Alex Lambert, probably the worst of the bunch, was so nervous that his performance came across like a 5 year old’s debut in their school choir. Did anyone else feel like he was going to burst into tears at any moment? And Tim Urban, who replaced Chris GoLightly, proved why the judges didn’t put him through the first time around: he sucks! He couldn’t even hit the notes in the song HE chose. The night wasn’t full of horrible talent, although nothing stands out as an Idol greatest moment. Casey James showed some serious potential, but the Kara-Casey crush commentary needs to stop immediately. Andrew Garcia still remains one of my top picks for the boys, although his song choice was less than stellar. It was Todrick Hall who took on “Since U Been Gone” by original Idol, Kelly Clarkson, and turned it into a funky, R&B jam that actually sorta worked. It wasn’t surprising to see him stick around for this week’s show.
However, on Thursday night, not everyone was quite as lucky: Janell Wheeler, Tyler Grady, Joe Munoz, and Ashley Rodriguez said goodbye to the hit show. Munoz and Rodriguez being the obvious surprises, leaving both Tim Urban and Alex Lambert, who screamed out some profanities when finding out the news, untouched. And tonight the process starts again as the Top 10 boys and Top 10 girls return for Round 2. Will it be as bland as last week or will the contestants find their comfort on the Idol stage? Will Haeley Vaughn finally sing without an annoying lisp or will she make her return to Colorado? And will Alex Lambert keep his language under control? Probably not. It all goes down, starting tonight, on FOX.
And, don’t forget, you can download your favorite Idol performances from each week’s show on iTunes. But don’t expect them to sound exactly like the live performance. It was recently uncovered that the Idol camp is touching up some of the live performances before sending them out for distribution. Rumored to have received the auto-tune treatment: Lee Dewyze, Haeley Vaughn, and Lacey Brown. Meanwhile Alex Lambert and Tim Urban’s ghastly performances were distributed as is – meaning don’t download them. Take a listen to the proof below.
UPDATE: A “medical issue” has prevented Crystal Bowersox from performing live tonight, so the boy will be going first this week. Hopefully Crystal is well enough to perform tomorrow – I will keep you updated.